I was looking for some second-hand film camera on the internet. And there was a guy selling one with this condition: シャッター速度はB,1-1/1000秒が切れます。 What does "切れます" means in this case? It means the shutter works perfectly or doesn't work? Thank you in advance.

4 Answers 4


シャッターを切る is a common set phrase that just means "to release the shutter." Don't ask me why 切る is used; maybe the third definition here is relevant. The sentence just says the shutter speed of the camera is "B, 1-1/1000秒".

  • 1
    B stands for "Bulb" (don't ask me why; it means the shutter opens when you press the release, and closes when you let go), and I think this must be saying that the shutter speeds are B, and the range from 1 sec to 1/1000 sec (but it would surely be more usual to write 「B、1~1/1000 秒」. Commented May 20, 2017 at 4:55
  • @BrianChandler: You used to squeeze a bulb of air to release the shutter, and the shutter would stay open as long as you squeezed the bulb. Commented May 20, 2017 at 5:11
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    Note: the shutter speed is “B, 1–1/1000”. That first “1–” is important, since 1 second and 1/1000 second are the maximum and minimum shutter speeds when not in Bulb mode. @Brian That is what it says, isn’t it? Commented May 20, 2017 at 8:10
  • Oh so I failed to copy the 1- part. Thanks, fixed.
    – naruto
    Commented May 20, 2017 at 11:21

Seeing the word 切れます could be concerning as it does mean "to break/to snap". But it can also be used to mark an achievement of sorts. Look at this similar example.


100 meters, will they break 10 seconds?

The sentence you have is probably describing the cutting edge of the shutter speed on the camera which seems to be 1 to 1/1000 seconds. (see what I did there?) So I think the camera is in good condition.


シャッター速度はB,1-1/1000秒が切れます。 "The shutter speed is B, can "cut" one in 1/1000th of a second."

Here, 切れます is in the potential form of 切る which means to cut. In this context though, we think about the shutter: The shutter "closes" its aperture as though they were several folds constricting, right? So, it is cutting 'light' as it closes.

So, a more "true-to-English" translation would be: "The shutter speed is B, and is able to close once in 1/1000th of a second."

Pretty certain this is referring to the f-Stop setting for B (Bulb) on a camera, and 1/1000th of a second is a pretty fast shutter speed.

  • This isn’t quite correct. You’re missing that it says “1–1/1000”, that is “from one second to one thousandth of a second”. The camera’s shutter has two separate modes: B(ulb), where the shutter only closes when you release the press on the trigger; and timed shutter release, where the longest exposure is one second and the shortest is 1/1000 second. The ƒ-stop has nothing to do with it: that’s the camera’s aperture, which measures the size of the hole (the aperture) through which light is allowed to pass, not the length of time this hole is open. Commented May 20, 2017 at 8:08
  • Yes you're absolutely right. My eyes kind of skipped 1-1/1000 and only saw the 1/1000. As far as cameras go, I might be somewhat uninformed. Sorry!
    – psosuna
    Commented May 22, 2017 at 20:01

My take on the translation:

when the camera mode is set to B (Bulb) you can use shutter settings from 1 second to 1/1000 second.

Yes, 切れます is the potential form of the verb. Bulb is usually used for long exposures, although 1 second is not very long and digital cameras can handle 1 second without the Bulb setting.

Another guess as to why "切" is that frames in film are visually-speaking "cut out" or carved from the negative once the shutter fires and advances.

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